Sir Roger Scruton sacked over 'Islamophobia' comments

Government adviser sacked over Islamophobia comments

Government adviser Sir Roger Scruton has been sacked over comments about Islamophobia and homosexuality.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Sir Roger Scruton has been sacked from his post as a government adviser after he faced backlash over "unacceptable" comments on the definition of Islamophobia.

The adviser was dismissed as a housing tsar with immediate effect, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed.

A spokeswoman said: "Professor Sir Roger Scruton has been dismissed as chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission with immediate effect, following his unacceptable comments.

"A new chair will be appointed by the Secretary of State, to take this important work forward, in due course."

Downing Street said Sir Roger's comments were "deeply offensive and completely unacceptable" and that it was right that he had been dismissed.

"He was appointed because of his expertise in the built environment but his comments are clearly distracting from the work of the commission and it is no longer right for him to act as a government adviser," a No 10 spokeswoman said.

The government dismissed calls to fire the academic as a housing adviser last November after it emerged Sir Roger had said Islamophobia was a "propaganda word" and described homosexuality as "not normal".

Sir Roger came under renewed criticism after commenting on the controversy, as The New Statesman America quoted Sir Roger as repeating his claim that Islamophobia was a propaganda word "invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue".

Sir Roger said it was "nonsense" for critics to accuse Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.

He said: "The Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East."

The interview was conducted by New Statesman’s deputy editor George Eaton, who after Sir Roger was sacked, posted a photo to Instagram of him drinking champagne from the bottle.

He captioned the photo: “The feeling when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a Tory government adviser.”

The photo has since been deleted.

Columnist Douglas Murray defended Mr Scruton’s comments saying they were simply “true”.

In a Spectator column, Mr Murray accused Mr Eaton of “journalistic dishonesty”.

He added: “Obviously since the British Labour party became a party of anti-Semites it has become exceptionally important to pretend that anti-Semitism is equally prevalent on the political right in Britain and that to criticise any of the actions of George Soros is in fact simply to indulge in anti-Semitism equivalent to that rolling through the Labour party.

“A very useful play for the political left, but wholly untrue. Anyway, I say ‘it appears’ that Scruton said this because there seem to be a few journalistic problems here.”

Watch: Toby Young discussing Sir Roger's sacking with Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

Toby Young, who resigned from an advisory role to the Department of Education last year after backlash over some of his twitter posts, told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that Sir Roger’s words had been “misrepresented”.

He added: “None of these opinions are relevant when it comes to accessing his credentials to do this particular job that he had been appointed to do.

“Last November it was encouraging that the government stood up to the mob, despite of the efforts of the offence archaeologists who are digging down into people’s social media history.

“But now four months later, a journalist deliberately sets out to get someone fired and misrepresents what they said in the interview.

"They succeed in whipping up the outrage mob and this time instead of looking careful at what he said, the housing minister caved into the mob. It is absolutely pathetic.”

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